I arrived in Spokane at my good friend Justin's place on Thursday night. Friday afternoon we drove to Northern Idaho to camp at Priest Lake for the weekend. Priest Lake is a huge 19-mile-long (31 km) lake in the northwest corner of Idaho.
Justin and I grew up together. He is the most outdoorsy guy I know. He's an Eagle Scout, an avid rock climber, mountaineerer, and backpacker. He has completed NOLS outdoor adventure training, he climbs mountains by himself for fun, etc. He posted his 30-day NOLS mountaineering expedition journal on his site. It's pretty amazing. He's studying engineering at Gonzaga University in Spokane.
We found a good camp site up a forest service road at the northern end of the lake. The forecast had predicted cold and rain all weekend long. There was snow on the ground at our campsite and everything was soaking wet. It rained off and on and it was very difficult to get a fire going.
Saturday was much nicer and we drove to the lake. We found an abandoned steam ship near shore.
Justin had recently bought a white water kayak, so he took it out for a spin. I climbed a little hill and did some reading.
When he came back I tried the kayak but it was a bit too small for me.
Then we decided to drive up the logging roads past our campand see where they led. There was a lot of snow and ice on the trail, but his truck made it just fine after we cleared a couple minor obstacles.
The higher we got, the nicer the weather became. Snow melting down the sheer cliff faces glistened in the sun.
We saw mountain goats feeding on the granite rocks.
Pretty soon the road was covered in snow and the truck wouldn't go any further. We left it behind and hiked on. It was too cool not to see more. We hiked a trail alongside a river. The snow was very deep - many feet in some places. The only other tracks were moose. No one had hiked this trail since the snow had fallen.
We made it another couple miles through the snow drifts and river tributaries until it began to get dark. Priest Lake is known as 'bear country.' Grizzlies and black bears are everywhere. The organized (fee) campsites have bear traps. We had bear spray so we weren't too worried. But it's best not to hike at night.
On Sunday we got up early and made breakfast. I tried out my new coffee percolator. It was missing a part, so I had to improvise.
Luckily Justin was better at cooking and he made breakfast burritos. Mmm.
We spent the rest of the day hanging around camp. It was a lazy day. We composed a song. I'll have the video up shortly.